The Cheraw Arts Commission has been fostering and recognizing local artistic talent through the annual visual arts competition sponsored during Cheraw Spring Festival for decades. Nearly 100 works from this year’s festival remain on display in the Mary G. Burr Art Gallery of the Cheraw Community Center until April 30.
At the same time, two Cheraw artists have works featured in the upcoming Artsfield event, April 25 - May 4, in Lake City, that could potentially earn them a considerable amount of money. The event, which takes advantage of more than 40 businesses in town as gallery venues, saw more than 20,000 visitors last year.
Robin Bersinger and Joshua Redfearn each have a piece in the show that drew from artists all over the southeast. You are encouraged to attend the event and vote on your favorite work of art. A portion of the $100,00 up for grabs in prize money will be determined by popular vote.
Redfearn, 30, said he started working on his piece when he learned about the competition last year and was grateful to finish on time. His work, titled “Think,” is made of thousands of collected materials, objects, and fabrics.
“There was no paint used in the entire work,” said Redfearn. Instead, he collected objects and materials that not only suited the color or contrast needed for the image, but served emotional or expressive objectives as well.
It’s not often that visual artists are good at explaining their visual ideas. But Redfearn, who has an entire website devoted to the explanation of his nine-foot-tall, 500-pound portrait is an exception to that rule.
Redfearn invites the viewer to think.
“In life, if we would think before we acted, what would happen? What misery would we avoid? What joy would we create?” writes Redfearn.
The piece includes hardened fabric, layered paper, buttons, pennies, playing cards, toy soldiers, and even toothpicks. Redfearn said he used resin to coat and protect the piece, making it more durable and approachable.
“I want children, and adults, to be able to touch it if they want,” said Redfearn.
Redfearn describes negative thoughts as snakes, “rising from the mind only to be caught and killed in the grips of Pliers.” The visual use of snakes in the hair of the portrait symbolize “how negative thoughts sneak in like poisonous snakes ready to sink their fangs into our emotions,” he said.
“The nails around the snake’s lifeless head represent positive action and thoughts defeating” the negative thoughts, said Redfearn.
Redfearn uses an unlocked combination lock to remind the viewer to unlock their own potentials. A stack of burned playing cards suggest the dangers of getting burned from gambling with life.
For more information on Artsfield, visit www.artfieldssc.org.
— Karen Kissiah can be reached at 843-537-5261.